Extracts taken from my book The Flipping Point. A flipping point in the trend for adopting absurd management ideas needs to be reached. The Flipping Point contains 200 short vignettes exploring what ’deprogramming management’ may look like. Read recent reviews on LinkedIn and Amazon.
360 degree feedback is the great deceiver
Another self-proclaimed ‘vital management practice’. It is a self-centred and inwards looking system that is supposed to provide food for people’s development. But it is also often an HR sacred cow from HR departments with a lack of imagination, sold on the idea of openness and transparency, but serving as a ritual to keep HR busy. It bypasses meaningful, truthful, day-to-day, ongoing dialogues and 24/7 mutual interchanges on behalf of a pseudo-scientific process. An alibi for managers, who don’t have the guts to have honest conversations. I doubt that any job description or contract includes mental nudity and exposure to friendly fire and ‘objective’ input from colleagues. In the best-case scenario, do it if your boss is also included in the parade. And do it quickly, there is a lot of real work to do. In reality, it is a collective Maoist system. I have only seen collateral damage, never a seriously good thing coming out of this process. Obsessive feedback cultures are cults, not healthy organizations.
360 feedback is the great deceiver. A ‘culture of feedback’ is always praised as superior. When feedback is institutionalised, the whole thing becomes mechanistic. Robotic processes deprived from real meaning. If ‘feedback’ is part of the daily, prosaic conversation, then you don’t need the 360 Maoist system. Or any benign form with narrow angles (180 degrees etc). Incidentally my preferred angle is 45 degrees, which is the one you need to look at yourself in a mirror.
The following qualify for early retirement
The following qualify for early retirement on compassionate grounds due to their poor health, in some cases terminal illness: Agile, neuro-anything (as in neuro-leadership and neuro-marketing), employee engagement surveys, annual performance management systems, 360 feedback, talking about VUCA, Change Management à la Kotter, gender targets (as a sign of how diverse we are), mindset-change programmes (I have worked as a clinical psychiatrist for 15 years of my life and I have never seen a mindset, no idea what they look like; but I’ve seen lots of behaviours, I know what to do with those) and purpose. Purpose is really, really exhausted and has asked for a career break, but I don’t know whether it will ever be back. It has been occupying the old Mission and Vision discredited spaces and has become so overworked that it has grown grey hair. It also has nasty arthritis.
The following qualify for early retirement on compassionate grounds due to their poor health, in some cases terminal illness. Are we still friends despite my list?